Would it shock you if I said that Windows 10 Mobile is not the least used mobile platform available? Probably not. I’m sure you’ve thought to yourself that their must be a slew of mobile operating systems out there that you (nor I) have ever heard of. But one that is somewhat known but is less used than Windows Phone is: Ubuntu Phone.
Ubuntu Phone (also known as Ubuntu Touch) has been around for at least a couple of years now, and has hit the market with little fanfare. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t have some good ideas for it. In fact in many ways, it came up with everything that Windows 10 Mobile is trying to be, but came up with it years ago. “Convergence” is the Ubuntu version of “Continuum”. “Universal Apps” for Windows 10 (which means software can run on any version of Windows 10, not just Mobile) is answered by Ubuntu Phone’s potential ability to run any Linux software that gets thrown at it.
Despite not getting any market share (and some would say that’s not Canonical’s mission with Ubuntu Phone), the fifth Ubuntu Phone ever is being released in March for $370: The Meizu PRO 5 Ubuntu Edition. Let’s have a look at what it offers…
Not bad specs, and I can totally appreciate why people want to run Ubuntu on their phone, so I’m not critiquing anyone for doing so. But this phone is damned strange in that one of the major selling points of Ubuntu Phone (and Windows 10 Mobile)–the ability to turn your phone into a full desktop with “Convergence”–will not be available on the Meizu PRO 5, even though it has a future-thinking USB-C port (which is often seen as the requirement for that ability, but not exactly). So I don’t really get the point to this device.
Also, it won’t technically be available outside of Europe and China. You can buy it through Chinese site JD.com from pretty much anywhere, but Ubuntu seems to not even be trying to reach anywhere else in the world. And I find that odd. I mean, at least spend a little money to try and sell it to others. Or at least put in on Amazon. Just do something more to let people know about it.
But again, without “Convergence”, I don’t terribly see the point. I can have an open source operating system and device–with plenty of quality apps–just by following the Dark Android Project ideals. And I’m really only mentioning it on the Dark Android Blog because Ubuntu Phone, in the abstract, is a potential contender to achieve the privacy, security, and anonymity that I started the Dark Android Project for in the first place. The Meizu PRO 5 is not such a contender.
The Ubuntu M10 tablet is a much better place to put your money in my opinion, if you want to get into mobile Ubuntu. It has “Convergence”, and a much better form factor to take advantage of everything Ubuntu can do. The other option is to try getting it to run on smartphones and tablets that use Intel Atom processors (like the ASUS Zenfone 2, Zenfone ZOOM, or Zenpad S 8.0) instead of more standard ARM processors like Snapdragons. Intel processors function better with alternative operating systems even beyond Android, including Ubuntu.
So experiment with Ubuntu Phone…just, in my opinion, don’t do it with the Meizu PRO 5.